While giving visitors a tour at Fire Station 6, located on 888 Agnew Road, fire paramedic Mark Selves revealed that the station’s kitchen has three big refrigerators, one for each of the three different shifts firefighters have to work at this particular site. Visitors also learned that because firefighters need to be at the station 24 hours a day, there are bedrooms for firefighters to sleep in during their night shift. Such were some of the insights offered at the Santa Clara Fire Department’s open house, held on the afternoon of Oct. 4 where eight fire stations throughout the city opened their doors to the general public.
“Over 1,200 visitors attended the open house event at our fire stations and Fire Museum,” says Bill Kelly, Chief of the Santa Clara Fire Department. “The purpose of the open house is to give fire safety tips and emergency preparedness advice to the community and to show the citizens what their neighborhood firehouse and firefighters are all about. Firefighters take pride in protecting the people they serve and this event serves as a way for them to interact with the public. This date was chosen because it kicks off National Fire Prevention Week.”
“It’s a great opportunity for my children to meet firefighters and become familiar with them and their equipment so they’re not afraid of going to them if they ever need help,” says Andrea McGlinn, who brought her three children to Fire Station 6.
Here, some children eagerly picked up shiny plastic firefighter hats. Inside the fire vehicles, they climbed onto the driver and passenger seats and the back of the ambulance. They explored the station’s offices and facilities as well as the medical equipment the paramedics use.
“Citizens also learn about fire safety and emergency preparedness at the open house,” Kelly says. “In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, we’re going to place a special emphasis on earthquake preparedness.”
On a table with handouts promoting safety awareness was a sign titled “24 Basic Items To Have In An Emergency.” Listed are essential items for a kit that could come in handy in an emergency, such as an earthquake. Items on the list include water, unperishable and canned food, a flashlight, a portable radio, batteries, a can opener, and a first-aid kit.
“Today was about giving everyone a chance to see who we are and what we do,” says Selves, a Santa Clara native. “Many kids [coming today] wanted to know about the training required to be a firefighter and about the emergencies we respond to.”
Another Santa Clara native is Zach McGhie, a driver and engineer at the station. He exlains why choosing a career with the Santa Clara Fire Department has been especially gratifying for him.
“I grew up in Santa Clara and at work, I get to give back to the community I grew up in,” says McGhie.